Schnabel Schmacks Down Documentarian


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We at Daily Intel know that the fleshy body of Papa Bear Julian Schnabel is covered with a very thin skin indeed: Remember how pissy he got when GQ said he had workmanlike hands? It’s because he’s sensitive, you see. He’s an artist. And you should not cross him or he will cut you with his words. Filmmaker Paul H-O finds this out rather uncomfortably in his documentary Guest of Cindy Sherman, which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival next week. After Schnabel gave H-O permission to bring his cameras into his 1995 “Conversion of Saint Paulo Malfi” show at Pace, fellow artist Rick Prol dished to them about how a man was running around calling Schnabel’s artwork “the emperor’s clothing” and screaming that he was destroying the profession. After this snippet aired on H-O’s public-access show, Schnabel was, shall we say, frosty toward H-O and gang. “I saw your idiotic program on TV,” he said. And despite H-O’s mild protestations (“That’s not what we said about your work!”), Schnabel delivers an enviably succinct diatribe, right into the camera: “I thought what you had to say was so glib and stupid that maybe I should have been more rude to you before … Is it supposed to be some sort of service? Or is it just a masturbatory exercise in stupidity?” And then the clip ends abruptly. —Sara Cardace